Tuesday 12 December 2017

Over at the blog of the otherwise admirable Australian Book Designers Association, I am doing my party piece.

Thursday 28 September 2017

Penguin vs Peter Owen

I'm not sure what exactly has gone on behind the scenes, but a number of books long published, championed and supported by Peter Owen in their Modern Classics series seem to be slipping over, in paperback editions, to Penguin Modern Classics, with some very nice covers. However, Peter Owen seems to have retained the hardback rights, and are reprinting them as what they are calling Cased Classics. (See other examples of paperbacks at one publisher, hardbacks with another here and here.)

So here are the new/imminent Penguins...

..and here are the beautiful hardback Peter Owens, with diecut covers over fully illustrated boards (click for much bigger versions).

The moral of this story is that the much less attractive edition of The Ice Palace which I bought a couple of months ago, before I knew about any of these, was not a good investment.

(More Peter Owen coming soon: their beautiful and intriguing World Series books with Istros)

Thursday 14 September 2017

Covers Containing Covers

A new addition to the collection of covers that contain and alter/vandalise other covers: My Ariel, the forthcoming (from Coach House Books, next month) collection of poetic responses to Plath's Ariel, by Sina Queyras...

..which of course riffs on the original Ariel cover.

There are several other covers which have done this. Mark Sarvas's Harry, Revised makes use of an old Penguin Classics Dumas cover, while Frank Portman's King Dork savages Salinger.


Then there's this Swedish editon of Aleksandar Hemon's Nowhere Man, which is the most straightforward version of this I've seen.

Tuesday 1 August 2017

Book Covers That Do Not Feature Vaginas

These first two covers, both for forthcoming books, are the latest in a long line of book covers that definitely do not feature large images of vaginas.

These other covers also do not feature or suggest vaginas in any way.


UPDATE: The splendid Marly Youmans has found a much earlier example of this, from 1975.

Thursday 18 May 2017

Harvill, Hyman, Hénaff & MacLehose

At the end of the last century there was a wonderful series of books being published by what was then the Harvill imprint, under the editorship of Christopher MacLehose. In the end there were at least 230 in this series, most of them translations, all recognisable by the stripe-and-lion on the left-hand-side of the cover.

I bought as many as I could at the time, and have been collecting them ever since when I come across them second-hand. Here are the piles of those I've not yet read...

Sadly, Harvill was swallowed up by Random House, and most of the list left to slide out of print. Fortunately, however, Christopher MacLehose later set up a new imprint, MacLehose Press, much of which is dedicated to fiction in translation. I bought one of their books recently--Sophie Hénaff's Parisian crime novel The Awkward Squad, and found that it was labelled as the third 'Maclehose Edition'.

Investigating further, I discovered these MacLehose Editions seem to be the beginning of  new list of translated books which I hope will come to rival the original Harvill series. Some of the other titles, published and forthcoming, are these:

Back to the Hénaff: it has a lovely and distinctive cover drawn by one Miles Hyman, who has also provided covers for other MacLehose books...

..as well as for other publishers, both English and French. I knew Hyman's work from his excellent graphic-novel adaption/expansion of his grandmother's famous short story of group madness and cruelty: Shirley Jackson's 'The Lottery'.

Here are some of the book's pages (click to enlarge):

So, in short: old Harvills, MacLehose books, Miles Hyman's work--explore them all.

Thursday 23 March 2017

Keshiki Keshiki Keshiki

Strangers Press is a new small publisher based in Norwich who are setting out to bring great translated literature to English-speaking readers. They've launched very impressively with the 'Keshiki: New Voices from Japan' series, 8 novellas published as DL-sized chapbooks, with eye-catching covers and interiors printed in unusual dark blue ink. I ordered them based on their looks alone, not having read any of the authors before, but fortunately they're also quality stuff prose-wise.

All the books have French flaps with the author and translator biographies on them. Click for bigger, semi-readble versions.

So you don't have to suffer too much from my inepty photographs, here are the individual covers and their designer credits.

Design by Glen Robinson

Design by Glen Robinson

Design by Glen Robinson

Design by Glen Robinson

Design by Nigel Aono-Billson

Design by Nigel Aono-Billson

Design by Nigel Aono-Billson

Design by Nigel Aono-Billson

Strangers Press's website makes no mention of what their next project will be, but I look forward to it with impatience and greed.